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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » Understanding strong beliefs without agreeing on them...

   
Author Topic: Understanding strong beliefs without agreeing on them...
Two Cents
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When I first read about OSCs views on homosexuality and how he is apparently “gay-bashing”, I was stupefied. I could not, for the life of me, understand how somebody as intelligent as him would hold such ridiculous beliefs. Could not comprehend how somebody who wrote about both Formics and Pequeninos being raman despite fundamentally differing could uphold and publicly voice that stance.

I brooded for a while, and I will share a bit of my thought process here, for whoever might be interested.

Being homosexual is not a choice. Acting out homosexuality is. Because acting out sexuality is. (Yes, I also believe cheating on your partner always is a choice.)
Acting out any kind of sexuality is a choice. The urge is certainly not a choice, but the action is. The urge may be felt as overpowering. It is largely socially accepted to act out sexuality. (There was a time when acting out sexuality – especially female sexuality – was not socially accepted at all…)
Taking drugs is a choice. The urge is certainly not a choice, but the action is. The urge may be felt as overpowering. The social stance on whether it is acceptable to take drugs varies.
Acting out pedophilia is a choice. The urge is certainly not a choice (!), but the action is. The urge may be felt as overpowering, but it is socially prohibited to act on it. It is largely taboo to speak about it, and there are very few offers of psychological support.
Acting out homosexuality is a choice. The urge is certainly not a choice, but the action is. The urge may be felt as overpowering. For a long time it was socially prohibited to act on it, largely taboo to speak about it, and there were very few offers of psychological support. Nowadays it is largely socially accepted to act out homosexuality.
I could go on with certain fetishes, but I think you get the point…

There is no absolute moral truth to guide us in what we “as a society” believe is right or wrong.
I believe acting out sexuality is morally acceptable. Acting out homosexuality is morally acceptable. Taking drugs, to me, is not morally acceptable – it does so much harm. Pedophilia is not morally acceptable (but there should be psychological support!).

Now, back to OSC. Let us assume that he acknowledges that before the “homosexual act” there is a “homosexual urge”. Let us also assume (in his favor, and because I have never heard him claim otherwise) that he believes the person feeling a homosexual urge is not to blame for it (as I believe a person feeling a pedophile urge is not to blame for it, or a person addicted to drugs is not to blame for it). But he believes that acting on that urge is very wrong and that these people should be encouraged to stop acting upon their desires and be supported by society in their endeavor to change.
After all, he did grow up in a society that largely condemned homosexuality. He grew up in a religion that strongly condemns homosexuality to this day. As we all grew up in a society that is largely accepting of most kinds of sexual behavior. Except for pedophilia, but talk to your ancient greek philosopher idol about that and you might get into quite the heated argument…

Now, to make this more clear, with my distinctly anti-drug stance, if I were interviewed on the topic it would probably go as follows:

Would I vote to legalize more drugs? Absolutely not! (Obviously, people are not able to choose to do the right thing.)
Would I vote for governmental financial support of the act of taking drugs (like meeting centers or social drug-using groups)? That would strike me as extremely counterproductive.
Would I vote for governmental financial support of drug-waning programs? Definitely.
Would I vote to ban already legalized drugs like alcohol and nicotine? Yes, I would, if the question arose.
Would I actively (verbally) try to stop people from taking drugs? I did when I was younger. I stopped when I realized that in the large majority of cases, those humans, plainly, cannot do that. If I were famous and people listened to me, I would still try to increase awareness of the problematic topic.
Do I believe that people choose to become addicted? No! I strongly believe they have no choice in the matter.
Do I blame people for being addicted to drugs? No. It is not their fault.
Do I dislike people for being addicted to drugs? No, I just dislike that they make it ever more socially acceptable.
Do I treat people addicted to drugs unkindly? No, I don’t believe I do.
Would I encourage my children to mingle with people who are addicted to drugs? Certainly not, because I believe it would increase their risk of becoming addicted themselves.

Maybe you will think me as bigoted as you think OSC is. Or maybe not, because the topic of drug abuse is not yet quite as socially charged as that of homosexuality. But maybe you do find my stance even remotely relatable. Even if you don’t agree on the point, maybe you think it is a valid position. Not outrageously ridiculous.

Now, go through all those questions again, substituting “drugs/ addicted to drugs” with “pedophile/ sexually attracted to children” – for answers you would likely agree with.
Now, go through all the questions again, substituting “me” with “OSC” and the topic with “homosexuality/ homosexual marriage” – for answers you would likely disagree with.

And please do not mistake my meaning. I am not in any way against homosexuality. I think there is no reason not to let grown people decide whom they want to marry, whatever their gender, race or religion. I am against drug abuse. I do not think grown people make good choices when it comes to addictive substances. I am against pedophilia. I was sexually abused by an old man when I was a little girl. I try to understand. I still think the old man acted morally unacceptable when he acted upon his pedophile desires. But I understand now that there is no fault in feeling the urge, and I have since talked to grown men who are pedophile by desire but have never and never want to act upon it.

OSC has a very different view on homosexuality than I do – more akin to my view on pedophilia.
But I have come to feel that he is, within his belief, quite consequent in his thinking (it makes sense when interpreted through his eyes) and, through the same lens, not unkind in the way he phrases it.
I tried to understand. I believe I do now, I feel I understand why he says what he does, whereas before it just seemed so incredibly hateful and ignorant. Maybe it helps you be more at peace with OSCs seemingly bigoted stance on the subject, without having to agree with him.

And he has written wonderful stories and I will forever be very grateful for that.

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PanaceaSanans
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Brave topic to choose so early on... (And welcome to Hatrack.)

Interestingly, it seems impossible to research Mr. Card to learn more about his work as an author without soon stumbling upon these accusations.

I struggled similarly when I first learned of his viewpoint. So I understand your eagerness to talk about it. I myself phrased my disbelief almost exactly as you did: "How can somebody who postulates that Formics and Pequeninos can be loved when understood get himself worked up about something as insignificant as whether your partner is of the same or opposite gender?" (in a private message).

But those of us who still frequent this forum all have found some way to accept the fact, I guess. Those who could not cope with it, who were understandably hurt too much by it, have since left.

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mulrich
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Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I hope more people take the time to understand why other people hold certain beliefs, even (especially) if they don't agree with them. I disagree with people on many things but that doesn't mean I'm right in my views (or others' are in their's).

I'm not even sure if Card wholly believes some of the statements he made regarding same-sex relationships. I seem to remember subsequent interviews where he back-tracked a little or tried to clarify his stances. It's possible I'm remembering this wrong.

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Manicman
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Card is weird. I relate profoundly to the character of Ender Wiggin, and I find some (not all) of Card's writing to be very profound and touching.
That said, I think he is a maniac. The anti gay views I may disagree with, but they are kinda mainstream social conservatism. But while he sometimes writes with compassion for racial minorities in his books, I also think he is a racist. He has Ender call Alai a nigger in one of the older versions of Ender's Game. He thought Obama was going to declare himself as dictator with street gangs.
He has other weird views. Climate change denier. Called Hillary Clinton a socialist, though in fairness he said she was better than Trump.
I jus googled his political views and found him writing that a Trump presidency would be a continuation of... the Carter presidency, but without the Christianity. What the ****? How is a narcissist with power drives like Carter, who presided over little bloodshed in his regime and went on to advocate for international peace afterword?
He also thinks there is a vast left win conspiracy to silence free speech and undo the constitution.
I'm sure if I search more I will find more weirdness.
But yeah, he really is a talented writer in many ways.

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kacard
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Might be worth a read:

http://www.hatrack.com/misc/Quotes_in_Context.shtml

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Zotto!
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I'm way to the Left of OSC on a lot of political issues (feel the Bern!), but I am just finishing up my billionth reread of Songmaster during my lunch breaks at work, and I would strongly recommend it to everyone in this thread, if they haven't read it yet. It is still very relevant, a completely timeless story; I can't believe it was written in 1980! It is still one of the most beautiful and compassionate books with sympathetic gay characters I've ever read. I am so glad I read it when I was 18; it's been 13 years since then, and it was an important part of my moral development.

I will never hurt you.
I will always help you.
If you are hungry
I'll give you my food.
If you are frightened
I am your friend.
I love you now.
And love does not end.

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